Exceptionally disgruntled ex-Brontë Society member Nick Holland announced his decision to resign from the society in a furious blog post in late December. Asking what Emily Brontë would think of the appointment of Lily Cole, whom he refers to as ‘a supermodel’ as creative director, Holland stated that it would be best for him to resign.
I can no longer continue to be a member of the Brontë Society whose leaders’ views are so opposed to my own. It’s best that I leave the society now, before they announce James Corden as the creative partner for 2019, a year in which Patrick Brontë is being remembered, and Rita Ora as organiser for Anne Brontë’s celebrations in 2020.
Seemingly unbeknownst to Holland, Cole graduated with honors from Cambridge University and has spent the last several years involved with a “charitable social network” she founded, as well as engaging in a successful acting career. However, Holland saw her star as Helen of Troy in a play written by Simon Armitage, who held the position of creative director prior to Cole’s appointment, and has not forgiven her for what he deemed her to be a “terrible” performance. In addition to this, he cites nepotism as part of the reason he is so angered by the situation, stating:
Nepotism is a disease particularly rampant in literature, so that the best way to get a book deal is to be a journalist, a celebrity, or a friend or relative of one. This is particularly evident at this time of year, when newspaper’s lists of the ‘books of the year’ feature writers bigging up those who share the same agent or publisher – an act known as ‘log rolling’. We now have a Brontë log roll, as Simon Armitage passes on the baton to his friend Lily Cole.
Image Via NewsLocker
Holland’s incensed rant has sparked outrage as well as amusement in the media, with many viewing his comments as snobbish. In response to the post, Lily Cole released the following statement, which has been described as “dignified”:
When I was asked by the Brontë Parsonage Museum to work on a piece to commemorate Emily Brontë’s birth I immediately thought of Emily’s pseudonym, and what that gesture represented. Why could a woman not publish under her own name? What was life like for women living in the UK in the 19th century? What circumstances would also give rise to a child being found abandoned in a city in the 18th century, as Heathcliff was? Now I find myself wondering, fleetingly, if I should present the short film I am working on for the museum under a pseudonym myself, so that it will be judged on its own merits, rather than on my name, my gender, my image or my teenage decisions. I would not be so presumptuous as to guess Emily’s reaction to my appointment as a creative partner at the museum, were she alive today. Yet I respect her intellect and integrity enough to believe that she would not judge any piece of work on name alone. In the meantime I am excited to see how much Emily still means to so many people, and I welcome 2018 to celebrate her.
An admirable response, no doubt. And Twitter has largely sided with her as well.
Lily Cole is a double 1st (Art History) Cambridge graduate. She’s not ‘just’ a model. Quitting the Bronte over her appointment is a pathetic, elitist and, one suspects, misogynistic thing to do. BBC News – Row as Lily Cole made patron of Bronte Society https://t.co/XtVH6V2UT6
— Bevis Musson (@bevismusson) January 4, 2018
Rather brilliant move on their part. They gained the amazing Lily Cole and lost a twatty dinosaur of a dude. https://t.co/tU2gg65fS6
— Tracy King (@tkingdot) January 4, 2018
Poor Nick, he’s really getting it ripped out of him, and he’s already so, so upset. I can only imagine how furious he is now that the whole world has sided with Lily and everybody’s calling him names on the internet. It’s okay, Nick. At least now Lily has this new role, she can stop being bad in plays you want to watch, so that’s good!
Nick. | Via Twitter
Featured Image Via Newsweek and Blogspot